Medical Responders Expand Knowledge in Management of Chemical Casualties

25 June 2018
Medical professionals during an OPCW training at the International Rescuers Training Center (IRTC) of the University of Civil Protection in Svetlaya Roshcha, Belarus

Medical professionals during an OPCW training at the International Rescuers Training Center (IRTC) of the University of Civil Protection in Svetlaya Roshcha, Belarus

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 25 June 2018 — An international group of medical professionals enhanced their operational skills in pre-hospital care for chemical casualties during a training held at the International Rescuers Training Center (IRTC) of the University of Civil Protection in Svetlaya Roshcha, Belarus, from 11 to 14 June.

Thirteen professionals attended this course conducted by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus.

Senior Program Officer of the OPCW, Mr Shahriar Khateri, stated in his opening remarks that, “Such capacity-building events extend the reach of assistance and protection regime under article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention, enhancing both national and regional capacities to provide medical assistance for victims of chemical weapons”.

The participants expanded their skills in a number of areas, including acute care for contaminated victims, prevention of secondary contamination, emergency scene management and use of antidotes and protective equipment in a pre-hospital setting.

    Participants of the OPCW training at the International Rescuers Training Center (IRTC) of the University of Civil Protection in Svetlaya Roshcha, Belarus

    Participants of the OPCW training at the International Rescuers Training Center (IRTC) of the University of Civil Protection in Svetlaya Roshcha, Belarus

    The medical professionals’ decision-making and proper actions were also tested during emergency simulation exercises.

    While the OPCW has been co-organising trainings in Belarus since 2013, this was the first medical course offered at the IRTC, as well as the first OPCW training in Belarus conducted in the English language.

    The participants represented the following OPCW Member States: Bhutan, Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Romania, the Russian Federation and Turkey. 

    Background

    As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 193 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

    Over 96% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

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